How to Make Money From Your List


This is one of the first things I learned about online marketing… way back in 2005 when email marketing was still fairly young.

What’s “the list”?

It’s the database of names and e-mail addresses your business picks up.

These might be names of customers which you collect at the point of sale, so that you can deliver the product and customer services.

Even better…

It’s a list of prospects that you collect from your content marketing… including your blogs, social media posts, videos, reports and freebies.

These are people who you’ve qualified as being interested in your message, your products and your specialised subject matter.

By having them on an email list, it means you can build up a close relationship with them, and directly market your products and special offers.

You might remember the other week I gave you a marketing plan for launching your first email service – or giving a lacklustre email list a good kick up the behind.

As I explained, even if you don’t have a product to sell, you should start building a database anyway.


Well, because on its own, an email database is a highly valuable thing. It gives you the opportunity to promote other peoples’ products and earn an affiliate commission on sales.

However, there are a lot of people who get this terribly wrong, with sometimes disastrous results:

  • Spamming their list by allowing 3rdparties to make direct contact
  • Confusing the list with an endorsement message that doesn’t make your relationship with the 3rdparty clear
  • Angering the list by recommending irrelevant products that don’t relate to your niche
  • Wasting a sales opportunity with an endorsement that doesn’t have the crucial elements that all good promotional emails should have
  • Undermining your credibility with poor copy

So let me show you to ensure you get it right…

What you need to know about 3rd party selling

The basic idea of 3rd party promotions is that you introduce or recommend someone else’s product in your email newsletter.

Usually, it involves sending your readers to an external page via a tracked affiliate link, though it can also be a complete sales pitch in an email that leads to an order page.

For every person who buys, having clicked through from your link, you get a commission which you’ll have agreed in advance.

  • For promoting an information product you should receive anything from 50%-90% of the profit (that’s after refunds and costs).
  • For promoting physical products or mainstream eCommerce sites, it’s more likely you’ll get between 10% and 50% of the profit from sales.

After you send the email, or post the blog, the third party should supply a spreadsheet or record of the sale, showing you the commission you are owed.

It sounds easy, but there are some important rules:

  • NEVER offer your email list to a 3rdparty to send their promotion directly. Your readers signed up to get emails from you or your business, not from 3rd parties, so any introduction must be from you. It would also be a breach of data protection rules.
  • Always agree on a deal first before you agree to promote the product. Find out what the commission will be, how much of the profits you’ll get on each sale after costs, how long the refund period is and what their guarantee is. In return, you need to tell the 3rd party how many email names you’re sending the promotion to and what your average open rates are.
  • Establish how many times you’re going to promote to your names and when.If it’s a blog endorsement you should give some indication of what your weekly traffic is.
  • The product must be relevant to the subject matter of your emails or blogs. If someone signs up to a diet blog but gets a recommendation for a book about selling property, they’re going be rightfully confused and suspicious. If the product is slightly off message but you think your database might be interested, then find a way to link the product.

There are 3 further checks you need to make before any agreement.

  • Is there a sales page?That means a single page with product details and benefits, with a ‘buy now’ button and order form.  If not, either you or the 3rd party is going to need to write one. If you write it, then you deserve a higher cut of the profits than you would get if the promotion was already written.
  • If there is a sales page, has it made sales?You’re looking for a good conversion rate – in other words the percentage of people who buy after visiting the page – there are variables to consider, but it should be around 1-2% at least. A list where the engagement and loyalty is high should get 10-20%. If it’s a new promotion or you’re the first person to promote this product, then you’ll need to rate it yourself and go back to the 3rd party with any concerns.
  • Is there existing promotional copy for the email or blog?

Check if the product owner has some copy you can use to create the email. This might be:

  • A fully written recommendation that’s already proven to work to other lists that you can tweak to your own style and voice.
  • A basic template for a sales email which you can then tweak and then add your own details
  • No content at all, meaning you have to create an endorsement email from scratch. To do this, you need to make sure they have a sales promotion you can use as the basis of your email.

In all cases, if you want this to work effectively to your list, you will need to do some work on the email copy to make sure it’s clearly coming from you.

In summary, you need to have the following before you can create the email or blog post:

  1. A product to sell that’s relevant to your list/readers’ problems and goals.
  2. An agreed commission split on sales with a clear understanding of costs, refunds and guarantee periods.
  3. Agreed dates and frequency for sending the email or posting the blog.
  4. An effective sales page to send your readers to.

Once you have all that, you’re ready to sell a product to your list.

For steps and blueprints on how to create an effective endorsement email, go to our action plan Email Sales Mastery (full members only!)

If you want a copy and you’re not a full member, sign up for a 30 day risk-free trial and you can get access to all our action plans and business blueprints.

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